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The spice laurel, also known as real laurel, is becoming increasingly popular in local gardens. Because the bay leaves can be harvested and used as a spice in the kitchen. But what if the leaves become discolored. Does the tree then have certain diseases or does it “only” have deficiency symptoms due to incorrect care? How to determine what is missing in the Laurus nobilis is explained in the following article.

stunted growth and shedding of leaves

If the spice laurel does not grow properly or if the actually evergreen tree suddenly sheds its leaves, then these are usually not pests, but Diseases due to improper care. The following living conditions lead to stunted growth or shedding of leaves:

  • Location too shady
  • too wet, heavy soil
  • Roots have become slightly rotten

In such a case, the remedy is immediate relocation. A laurel cultivated in a tub immediately gets a sunny spot. A laurel that has been cultivated in the garden bed is carefully dug up. Damaged, rotten roots are removed and the Laurus nobilis replanted at another location with a different substrate. The earth should be permeable here, no more waterlogging should form.

Laurel, Laurus nobilis

brown leaves

If the bay leaves turn brown, the plant is showing that it is not doing well. Possible causes for this waterlogging or dryness being. If too much moisture is responsible for the brown leaves, the only solution here is to take the laurel out of the ground and cut off the already damaged roots. Then, after a short drying period, the spice laurel is planted in a new, permeable substrate. When dry, the plant must be watered well. After that, regular watering is essential. Furthermore, you should proceed as follows:

  • remove brown bay leaves
  • Cut back empty branches and shoots

As a rule, the spice laurel drives out again after the rescue in spring and summer. If this does not happen and more and more bay leaves are turning brown, then the tree has been so badly damaged by drought or too much moisture that it can no longer be saved. Root rot in particular is a disease that needs to be treated early.

shotgun disease

If small, brown or yellow dots appear on the otherwise green leaves, then the spice laurel is probably at the fungal disease shotgun disease. In such a case, you should act immediately, otherwise the plant is no longer suitable for use in the kitchen. So when the points occur, you should act immediately as follows:

  • Reduce nitrogen fertilization
  • remove any affected bay leaves
  • don't put it in the compost
  • dispose of in the residual waste
  • Otherwise, the fungus will spread throughout the garden
  • Spray with fungicide if necessary

If fungicides are used, then the spice laurel should no longer be used in the kitchen for the following year. Because even if the bay leaves are washed well before using them as a spice, residues of the fungicides can still be stuck. Therefore, it makes more sense to wait until next year to harvest newly formed bay leaves that have not been sprayed with the fungicide.

Shotgun disease on a cherry tree

pests in winter quarters

Since the spice laurel is only partially hardy, it is usually recommended to place it in a warm and bright place in the local latitudes in winter. But it is precisely here that the Laurus nobilis, which is otherwise not often plagued by pests, is particularly susceptible to them. In its winter quarters, it is often attacked by mealybugs, scale insects and spider mites. The following can be done against this:

  • put into winter quarters as late as possible
  • back outside as early as possible
  • Temperature in winter only up to 8 °C
  • Infestation is shown by fine webs
  • mottled leaves can also be a sign
  • collect mounted insects
  • can also be washed off with soapy water
  • Rinse the bay leaves with the hose

Due to the consumption of the tasty bay leaves in the kitchen, they should not be sprayed with an insecticide. Even if you wash it off before using it in the kitchen, this is usually not completely removed and can then cause intolerance when eating dishes seasoned with laurel.

dried bay leaves

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